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Vodacom to allow free mobile browsing via Opera Mini

Vodacom announced on Thursday that from midnight on Friday 9 April, for four consecutive weekends, Vodacom subscribers will be able to browse the web on their cellphones, free of charge when using the Opera Mini 4.2 or 5.0 browser, enhanced by Vodafone.

The free data browsing over weekends is valid from midnight on Friday till midnight Sunday, every weekend from 10 April to 2 May, and will apply once a customer downloads the Opera Mini browser enhanced by Vodafone –- exclusively available to Vodacom subscribers, free of charge.

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“Opera Mini is built for speed,” says Shameel Joosub, Managing Director, Vodacom South Africa. “Web pages are compressed by up to 90% thereby improving download speeds and significantly reducing the cost of browsing. In addition to this, with the Vodafone enhancement, customers get to bookmark Speed Dial to their favourite websites, as well as have access to a range of exclusive Applications and Widgets.

Opera Mini’s data compression reduces data usage while browsing by 70% – 90%, and provides faster page delivery, ultimately reducing browsing costs. It also provides an exceptional browsing experience compared to native phone browsers, enabling them to view bookmarks as icons and view multiple browsing windows in a carousel view.

Opera Mini has been particularly successful in South Africa due to low PC penetration. More users are discovering the speed and ease with which they can access the Internet, all from low cost cellphones – making the Internet more accessible to all South Africans.

Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software says, “By significantly enhancing the customer’s Internet experience, this initiative will help to kick start local economies by encouraging entrepreneurs to create a range of locally-inspired business models and services. Opera is all about bringing the best Internet experience to anyone, anywhere.”

Joosub adds: “South Africa is a market eager for more ways to get online. People are using their cellphones to visit Facebook, search on Google, and read Wikipedia. With Opera Mini 5.0 enhanced by Vodafone, we are making this experience as fast and easy as possible, as well as providing Vodacom customers with exclusive applications only available through our partnership with Vodafone.”

In an effort to further enable everyone to access the Internet on their cellphones, the on-screen experience will feature step-by-step, simple instructions with a strong emphasis on the use of intuitive icons to help those with lower levels of literacy.

A range of mini applications (local and global) are also in development, all of them designed to deliver the most social benefits to users such as email, finding a job, buying and selling services and products and learning foreign languages.

To access Opera Mini 4.2 or 5.0 for free, Vodacom subscribers can SMS “Opera” to 31116 (FREE) and follow the link to download the browser free of charge.

“We wanted to give South Africans an opportunity to trial a superb mobile Internet solution, and with free browsing over weekends our customers are able to experience the full Internet on their cellphones,” concludes Joosub.

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